SBS is “well-placed'' to launch a new free-to-air channel featuring Indigenous content, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said today.
Senator Conroy has asked the National Indigenous Television Service (NITV), which is currently broadcast on Pay TV, to begin talks with SBS about a partnership.
The proposal was intended to boost the amount of Indigenous content on free-to-air television without creating a third national broadcaster, Senator Conroy said.
“NITV has played a significant role in establishing an Indigenous television service since it first went to air in July 2007,” he said.
“SBS is well-placed to facilitate the evolution of this service and bring Indigenous television on to a free-to-air platform.”
NITV Chairman Ken Reys said the Federal Government had requested the “preliminary” talks as part of a review of the Indigenous broadcaster's funding.
The network will maintain funding for its current form until June 30 next year.
“We see this as a potential opportunity to achieve a long-awaited ambition of securing national free-to-air transmission for Indigenous television,” Mr Reys said.
“There are many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, and millions of other Australians, who currently don't have access to NITV.”
Mr Reys said a number of important issues, such as editorial control, funding and the continuation of NITV's daily news service, would be discussed with SBS.